Abdomen: ballottement

Vetlexicon Equis ISSN: 2398-2977 Canis logo

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now for a 30 day trial or log in


  • Abdominal distention is a common clinical sign of a variety of disease processes.
  • Physical examination can involve abdominal auscultation    , transrectal palpation     [Urogenital: rectal palpation]  and transabdominal ballottement.
  • Although the technique is commonly used in the bovine and ovine, it is rarely practiced in the equine.


  • Detection of large firm masses, including fetuses, or abnormal volume of peritoneal fluid.


  • Simple and safe.
  • No equipment required.
  • Useful in animals too small to palpate per rectum.


  • More difficult in the equine because of the increased rigidity of the abdominal wall, especially if assessing fluid wave.
  • Mainly of use in the foal.
Sorry, we couldn't find that content.
Let us know and we'll sort this out.